This is an album full of heart. Daoirí Farrell’s voice is hewn from the same source that begot Luke Kelly’s declamatory style, and he’s an able torch bearer for our folk song tradition.
His fourth album is a thoughtful collection of songs, some big (The Foggy Dew, Slieve Gallion Braes), some more contemporary (Pecker Dunne’s Sullivan’s John) and others short stories with an epic quality (Young Emmet).
Farrell has invested deeply in the production of this album, with some finely calibrated guest appearances from musicians including piper Mark Redmond, bluegrass dobro player Jerry Douglas, and guitar/bouzouki master Manus Lunny. The formative influence of An Góilín Traditional Singers Club is writ large throughout this collection, with Farrell’s delivery clearly trained on his listeners, whether in person or virtual. In an age of attention deficits, Daoirí's inclusion of epic stories (the title track has 9 verses) is a further doffing of his cap to the song session tradition.
Only one song, Murphy’s Running Dog, struggles to stand up to the demands of repeated listening: its lyrical preoccupation lending itself to a spirited live delivery, but in an album context, it wears thin.
Farrell’s wide open vocal style might at times benefit from a touch of calibration to allow more emotion in, as he achieves in the standout, One Starry Night, anchored by Pat Daly’s fiddle and harmonium and Trevor Hutchinson’s upright bass.